Category Archives: Michigan Fishing

Fly Fishing for Lake St. Clair Bass

Sneak attack on Lake St. Clair bass! – Photo by Aaron Rubel

When the sun sets slow and fire flies rise in margins between fields, forest and still water, the spirit of kayak anglers awaken on marsh laden edges of Lake St. Clair in search of smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Lake St. Clair sits between Lake Huron to the north (upstream) and Lake Erie to the south (downstream) in Southeastern Michigan.  It is one of the premier smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States, where notably the healthy largemouth bass population is often overlooked.  Fortunately, access for kayak anglers in this large and popular recreational boating lake is ample via canals, river channels, by slipping the yak in along convenient road side pull offs, as well as little used and out of the way island launches.  The lake is divided between US and Canada shoreline options.  Adventurous paddlers, through studying maps and strategic launch points, can navigate narrow openings through high grass to out of the way freshwater flats fishing.

Image Credit: Google Maps

There are a lot of great sub-surface flies to lure Lake St. Clair bass into a tussle, but I’m a sucker for top water triggers like hoppers, poppers, and large foam ant patterns.  The surprise of a line gone tight on a meaty streamer in turquoise depth is thrilling, but there’s nothing like a heavy smallie or largemouth rolling on a fly you’ve presented upon glassy water on a warm and beautiful evening.

Author of IcastInaYak, Aaron Rubel, tying on a grasshopper fly.

On a normal day of fishing Lake St. Clair, when one bass is found, numerous others are there for the taking.  On one recent excursion, the night drew late and I left both smallmouth and largemouth feeding upon decision to make my way back through the marsh to the takeout.  It’s ironically a good feeling to have caught several nice fish and have to turn your back on others in hopes for that next trip out.

Releasing a largmouth on Lake St. Clair – Photo by Aaron Rubel

The prized bass on Lake St. Clair are the bronzebacks.  The average sized smallmouth on Lake St. Clair is three pounds, which is hard to believe unless you’ve actually experienced it.  On some days, the numbers of heavy fish will spoil the angler not residing close enough to call the lake their home water.

Lake St. Clair smallmouth at dusk – Photo by Aaron Rubel

If you are looking forward to a trip to Lake St. Clair, you should be prepared with fly patterns simulating forage of gobies, large crayfish (or crawfish if you’re from the deep south), and baitfish patterns with coloration of perch and bluegill.  The average depth of the lake is only eleven feet, and so be aware of approaching storms that could quickly change surface conditions.  Wear your PFD, and post a flag that makes the kayak visible in case very large and high speed boats that often traverse the lake approach.  Quaint communities dot the shoreline of Lake St. Clair, where festivals and old fashioned eateries abound.  Fish grow fast and thick in this fishery, so be prepared for an adventure that you will be wishing never had to end.

A fatty on the fly – Photo by Aaron Rubel

Copyright 2017 by All rights reserved

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Kayak Anglers Supporting the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

The Flint River. Photo by Aaron Rubel

The Flint River. Photo by Aaron Rubel

The Flint River has for many years supported a productive smallmouth bass fishery.  It breaks my heart to learn that corroded pipes have reportedly poisoned Flint, Michigan drinking water pulled from the very river my good friend Ed Roden and I floated this past fishing season.  There will be those that root cause the issue’s concerns, but for this forum I encourage kayak and fly anglers to consider donating to the needs of the community as they grieve real impacts to life and home.  You can find information on how to contribute at the bottom of this article.

Over the years, I had probably made a quick glance below I-75 to the Flint River a hundred times or more on my way up to more fabled waters a bit further north.  However, my mis-informed perception of this fishery shouldn’t have been made so hastily even considering the close proximity to the nearly 4 million people residing in the Flint and Metropolitan Detroit area just to the south of the river.

Ed Roden fly fishing the Flint River. Photo by Aaron Rubel

Ed Roden fly fishing the Flint River. Photo by Aaron Rubel

The Flint is a wide, smooth flowing river with a bottom substrate that ranges from sand to cobble to breathing pockets of underwater grass beds.  The depth in the stretch we fished varied from knee-deep to holes that were clearly over the head of the wading angler.  We floated a five-hour stretch of river that began at a small township park to a take-out at an established access lot.  Ed cruised the river in the Hobie Pro Angler 12 and I paddled a Jackson Kilroy.  Skittering a small foam cone-shaped topwater fly, it didn’t take Ed long after launching before he hooked up with a nice smallmouth.

Ed Roden of the Hobie Fishing Team with a Flint River smallmouth bass. Ed is wearing Maui Jim Banyans in bronze toned lens.

Ed Roden of the Hobie Fishing Team with a Flint River smallmouth bass.

On a float just north of a large metropolitan area, you’ll of course encounter an occasional business or two along the banks, but I was surprised at how the river cut through mostly secluded forest that made for a pleasant fishing trip.  Smallmouth bass are generally considered a species that have a low tolerance to pollutants in the water.  The clarity of the stretch we floated varied from gin clear to slightly stained which seemed typical of good smallmouth water I’ve fished elsewhere.

Aaron Rubel with a smallmouth caught on a yellow popper fly. I was wearing Maui Jim Sunglasses in Wassup frames with rose toned lens.

Aaron Rubel with a smallmouth caught on a yellow popper fly.  Photo by Ed Roden

We had a successful day, landing eight smallies between us in the 12-15″ range with Ed landing six of those caught.  The Flint River smallmouth fed from the middle of the afternoon all the way through dusk.  It was a great trip and I look forward to another float on this river someday in the near future.

Flint River Smallmouth on the fly.

Flint River Smallmouth on the fly.  Photo by Aaron Rubel

I love the textured like pattern on the smallmouth bass species. The Flint River smallies also had a beautiful hue of light blue on their lower jaw.  And so, amidst the sad news surrounding the Flint River community, I hope the history of a quality smallmouth bass fishery can serve as an example of why this watershed remains a valuable treasure to conserve and visit in Southeast Michigan.

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A beautiful Flint River bronzeback. Photo by Aaron Rubel

If you’d like to consider helping the residents who are suffering a devastating health concern from lead poisoned water, reportedly stemming from corroding pipes, donations can be made to United Way of Genesee County, Michigan at the following link: .  When on website, click the “GIVE” button, and then there’s an option to support the Flint Water Fund.   You may also call 810-232-8121 for details.  I have donated in the amount I normally reserve for  spending on myself from my current paycheck.  I challenge you to also give to the desperate needs of Flint, Michigan residents.


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Copyright 2016 by All rights reserved

Kayak Fishing Upper Peninsula Michigan Wilderness Brook Trout Lake

Naomikong Lake Fishing 11 300Since beginning my fly fishing journey eighteen years ago, I’ve read stories of little known wilderness brook trout lakes nestled away for the adventurous angler to explore.  During my most recent trip to the U.P. of Michigan, I did some research in attempt to seek one out.

I found a potential candidate through studying maps and confirming with some local knowledge from native Yoopers.  My father, two sons, and brother-in-law set out on a hike where the creek crossed a backwoods U.S. Forestry road.  We were hoping for a trail, but quickly realized we’d be blazing our own atop a high bank on the west side of a creek.  The creek itself seemed to offer high potential of successful fishing, but our desire to find the lake kept us pushing upstream in hopes of discovery.

Boys Hiking Trail 300We trudged left and right across each fallen tree and low covering conifer.  Maps showed the lake to be due south of where the creek crossed the road.  In contrast, as we hiked our compass revealed the creek actually flowed from the southwest.  We knew we were likely close, but decided to call it a day and hike north from our location to understand where we were in relation to the starting point.  We came out just a short ways from a two-track heading directly south into the forest.

On day two, instead of parking the Jeep at the creek, we headed straight for the two-track in hopes it would lead us closer to the lake.  The two tracker ended 1/2 mile from the forestry road, where a foot trail picked up and continued south.  We lathered on bug spray, tucked our pants inside socks to prevent ticks from finding a cozy home on lower extremities, and set on our way with anticipation.

Naomikong Lake Trail Hike 4 300The foot trail crossed two small feeder creeks and opened into a clearing another 1/2 mile from where we parked the vehicle.  We had made it to our first wilderness brook trout lake!  Dad and I decided to wake early the next morning around 4AM with a deer dollie cart prepared to accommodate the hike in with the Jackson Kilroy kayak aboard.

Dad Dollie Kayak 300

Dad is creative. He has brought out many a deer on his dollie cart, and so decided to adapt it for transporting the kayak through the foot trail.

Deer Dollie 300

I used to watch “The Red Green Show” on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network.   Ole Red would be proud of our duct taping job of securing wood cross beams to the dollie cart for supporting the kayak!  According to Red, duct tape is “the handyman’s secret weapon!”

The extra height the dollie provided for clearance in gullies of the two creek beds worked great and we soon were at water’s edge.  Hiking a kayak in changes the mindset of how much gear to carry and how to transport it.  So, we were selective in only bringing what would fit in a backpack with an additional few lightweight items tucked inside the kayak.

Dad Hike Kayak 300  The water was glassy on a beautiful sunny morning.  Unfortunately, the lake was silent of any fish feeding, and I wasn’t able to entice a brook trout to take a subsurface offering either.  With all that work and no fish to hand, one would think it all a waste of time and effort.  Then again, exploration is an ongoing process and how can one say the view of tranquility a waste of anything?

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Backdrop of a wilderness brook trout lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as seen from my kayak.

Paddling Edited

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Photos by Aaron Rubel and Paul Rubel

Copyright 2015 by  All rights reserved

Upper Peninsula Michigan Smallmouth Bass

There’s a place north of the 45th called God’s Country.  It’s a place my father and I have trod many a mile through forest, swamp, and highlands searching for whitetail deer.  It’s a place where most fisherman’s thoughts turn to brook trout.  It’s a place where moose, wolves, cougar, and black bear roam the wilderness.  It’s a place not easily reached by car, plane, or train and for good reason.  The Upper Peninsula of Michigan (termed “the U.P.” by native Michiganders) is a special and wild place.

Cross north over the Mackinac Bridge that connects lower and upper peninsula’s of Michigan, and it’s difficult to believe you haven’t entered another state.  The topography suddenly changes and colorful flowers obviously not planted by man grow on both sides of what seems nearly every country road.  Table fare of various whitefish recipes, a delicious pasty, and strawberry shortcake can be found in out of the way, yet memorable restaurants.

Roxane's Smokehouse Restaurant in Strongs Corner, Michigan makes the best strawberry shortcake with a homemade sweet biscuit.

Roxane’s Smokehouse Restaurant in Strongs Corner, Michigan makes a great strawberry shortcake with a homemade sweet biscuit.

The state fish is the brook trout and romance species of the great white north.  Yet my favorite species to pursue in this range is the smallmouth bass.  Our family has a cottage on an eastern U.P. lake that had been taken over several years ago by bullhead catfish.  Since then, careful management techniques to reduce the population of bullheads and balance it with smallmouth, largemouth bass, and bluegill game species have been successful.  During a recent trip to the lake we caught all three species of game fish, including juveniles up through well established adults.  The early morning alarm clock is anticipated in the form of a yodel from loon, signaling good fishing in an unparalleled wilderness backdrop of tall pine and hemlock surrounding the lake.

When looking for a good fishing lake in the U.P., seek those that have variable depths, with some natural and protective shoreline.  These lakes will provide shelter from the harsh winters.  There are lakes in the range that are shallow, and as a result freeze several feet thick in the winter.  Deep freezing in shallow lakes will reduce potential for game fish survival. Heavy snow pack in the U.P. can provide a layer of insulation, preventing fatal freeze depths in these shallow lakes and yet block valuable sun rays from reaching through the water column.

Once finding a lake that has characteristics friendly to smallmouth bass, cast to structure, drop offs, and transition areas such as pinch points that combine the two.  My favorite flies to catch adult smallmouth bass on lakes are top water concave foam poppers. I like to use a primary color of black with red accent at dawn and dusk, then switch over to chartreuse with black accent as the sun rises above the tree line.  I know sub-surface flies such as crayfish patterns are great for enticing smallies, but as an angler can’t resist experiencing a football shaped bronzeback rolling on a fly off the surface, doubling over a medium flex fly rod and on into a battle royale!

This 18" smallmouth bass was caught by Aaron Rubel on a U.P. lake. Photograph by: April Rubel

This 18″ smallmouth bass was caught by Aaron Rubel on a U.P. lake.

Smallmouth bass are beautiful creatures with hues of gold, brown, and black.  Keep them in the water when you take pictures.  Keeping the fish wet while snapping a photo will help to maintain protective slime and at same time share what kind of habitat you caught it in with those viewing the picture.

The beauty of smallmouth bass and the habitat they reside in.

The beauty of smallmouth bass and the habitat they reside in.

Releasing adult smallmouth bass is important.  Smallmouth take several years to reach lengths of 18″ and greater, and these fish are prime brood stock for promoting future generations of the species.  This smallie was released back into the lake that our family cottage is located on.  It is a testimate to the results of what careful conservation management techniques are capable of.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources have put together a great resource to the angler in providing maps of hundreds of lakes throughout the state.  Many of these lakes will take some effort to get to, but it’s part of the adventure of fishing the U.P.  You can find maps of Michigan lakes here:,4570,7-153-67114_67115-67498–,00.html

Photography by Aaron Rubel, and April Rubel

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved


A Day Fly Fishing the Huron River

Upper Huron River, Michigan

The Huron River in Southeast Michigan

The Huron River in Southeast Michigan is well known for quality smallmouth bass.  Last Saturday was my first time fishing these waters holding smallies and other great warm water species.  What I didn’t realize though was the charm of the surrounding area.

Nestled to the west of the hustle and bustle of Ann Arbor and Detroit is a small village named Dexter.  I’m not sure whether it was the pride evident by the natural preservation of Mill Creek that runs through this village, the sight of a vibrant downtown cast in a unique shape defined by the triangulation of the creek on the west side and the Huron River to the east, or the sight of an old fashioned music in the park event on Friday evening, but as I drove through this quaint community it felt like a place I wish more of America were like.

Music in the park on a Friday evening in Dexter, Michigan

Music in the park on a Friday evening in Dexter, Michigan

This past Friday afternoon and evening I drove along the entire length of the stream between Ypsilanti and Portage Lake.  I decided my day of fishing on Saturday would be enjoyed in the area around Hudson Mills Metropark.  The 47 miles of public land surrounding the Huron River is a great example of how the watersheds in Michigan are for the most part open to recreating and enjoying with good access.  By no means did I cover even a portion of the hiking trail system that runs through the parks, but I was impressed with the 1.5 miles of trail I did traverse during my Friday afternoon scouting adventure.

As fog rose off the head of a pool early Saturday morning, so did a smallmouth bass to a chartreuse popper fly cast to the center of the stream.  A promising start to a delightfully productive morning of fishing.

Thank you to River Bassin Tournament Trail for granting permission of use of this picture of this smallmouth I caught on Saturday, July 26th, 2014 on the Huron River.

A smallmouth bass caught by Aaron Rubel.  Thank you to the River Bassin Tournament Trail for granting use of picture.

During the first few hours of fishing, the river gave me four smallmouth bass, and a largemouth.

A 14" largemouth bass caught on a chartreuse popper fly.

A 14″ largemouth bass caught on a chartreuse popper fly.

When looking for largemouth bass, I found this one in a slower section hidden among a natural stream bank wooded structure above a river bottom lined with grass.

The Huron River isn't all about bronzebacks.  It has healthy largemouth too!

The Huron River isn’t all about bronzebacks. Healthy largemouth abound too!

All fish landed except for one were caught off the surface.  A rock bass pictured below went after a hopper imitation in the early afternoon.  After the sun came out, one smallmouth was caught in the shelter of a riffle on a sub-surface brown and gray crayfish fly pattern.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first day on bass waters of the Huron River. I especially appreciated spending a day on water that is protected for conservation.  Next time you visit Southeastern Michigan, take some time to visit this scenic and accessible river.

I also had opportunity to meet some other anglers as part of the catch, photo, and release format of the River Bassin Tournament Trail event that I was participating in at the same time on this beautiful Saturday.

Competitors who caught qualifying fish in River Bassin Tournament Trail - Saline event from left to right:  Kyle Moxon, Cameron Simot, Chris Lemessurier, Richard Ofner, Aaron Rubel, Paul Biediger, Mike Hurst

Anglers who caught qualifying fish in the Saline, MI stop on the River Bassin Tournament Trail from left to right: Kyle Moxon, Cameron Simot, Chris Lemessurier, Richard Ofner, Aaron Rubel, Paul Biediger, and Mike Hurst

Results of the July 26, 2014 River Bassin Tournament Trail event in Saline, Michigan:

1st. Cameron Simot – 53.5″ (Adjusted vs. website reporting for late to check-in penalty)

2nd. Richard Ofner – 51.0

3rd. Kyle Moxon – 48.5

4th. Chris Lemessurier – 46.5″ (Adjusted vs. website reporting for late to check-in penalty)

5th. Mike Hurst – 40.25″

6th. Paul Biediger – 39.25″

7th. Aaron Rubel – 33.0″

8th-14th. (Did Not Catch Qualifying Fish):  Michael Dusseau, Michael Heckman, Ashley Kuilema, Andrew Newcomb, John Ricciardi, Chris St. Pierre, Kevin Williamson

Team Results:

1. Cameron Simot & Chris Lemessurier (Yeah Buoy)

2. Richard Ofner & Kyle Moxon (Canuckbassers)

3. Mike Hurst & Paul Biediger (Wolverine Lake)

Click here to find out more about the Saline event of the River Bassin Tournament Trail and how you can get involved in an event near you!

Thank you to the Kayak Corral kayak shop of Saline, Michigan for hosting the tournament.


Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved


Mitten State Angler

Mitten State AnglerSeventeen years ago, my good friend Ed Roden and I went to a Trout Unlimited meeting in Clinton Township, Michigan.  I overlooked the fact he was outfitted in a Ohio State University Buckeyes sweatshirt that evening.  It was the beginning of growth in our friendship that took a path of fly fishing flowing streams, conservation efforts to the habitat surrounding them, and many hours in the board room developing watershed management plans with other like minded friends.

We’ve had some memorable moments up north.  One that comes to mind is breaking down in a Jeep Wrangler on a logging trail two miles off the beaten path, only to learn the tire wrench was rust welded to engine compartment of the vehicle.  Then there was our first Hexagenia Limbata hatch we fished together where I was so excited for the upcoming spinner fall, that I had to leave the river to visit nature’s restroom three times in last hour before sunset.  I’m known for mistaking crows for turkeys on fishing trips and we’ve also had some good floats on drift boats together.  Yet, the best memories I have of fishing with Ed are those when we sat on river’s edge talking about life, waiting for a mayfly hatch to emerge.  Maybe it was the day when we were enjoying lunch beside our tent when to our surprise large trout started feeding on an unusual mid-day Hex hatch!  We drove ourselves crazy trying to catch those browns that day, but didn’t so much as get a bite.  Whether talking about life or experiencing the out of doors, good times they are.

Ed has developed into quite a proficient fly angler, both for trout and even bass.  I look up to him more than he knows, and since moving 1000 miles south five years ago have missed his companionship casting flies among Michigan cedar lined streams.

He has recently launched a blog.  I think you will enjoy his stories and insights he has to share about the sport of fishing.  He enjoys kayak angling, and uses the paddle craft to pursue fish in streams and lakes.  Check out the Mitten State Angler at  I know you will enjoy it.


Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved

Her Season

Fly fishing with someone special can be a great experience.  Introducing the sport to them can be a rewarding journey.

The 2004 fishing season was the third since introducing my wife, April, to fly fishing.  She wasn’t sure if she had the coordination to cast a fly-line.  But after practicing in the backyard, sitting through hours of Fly Fish TV, and being an enthusiastic listener, she became a quick study.

We decided to make a trip to the beautiful northern lower and upper peninsula’s of Michigan that season.  The Black River near Bessemer, MI was our first destination.  Bessemer is a ski town in the winter months, and an outdoor playground during the summertime.  The Porcupine Mountains were the initial reason why we planned a week’s visit, but we quickly realized the Black River Scenic Area alone offered unique opportunities for activities and relaxation.

Her Season 1Potawatomi Falls of Black River
Photo by Aaron Rubel

We stayed with Stan and Sue of the Black River Crossing Bed & Breakfast.  Stan and Sue own a beautiful two story log cabin on the shore of the river.  We woke to classical music and enjoyed a hearty breakfast every morning.

Her Season 2Black River Crossing Bed & Breakfast in Bessemer, Michigan

We were thankful for the local area knowledge Stan and Sue volunteered to share with us.  We enjoyed hikes to many magnificent waterfalls along the Black River, and Powderhorn Creek.  We kayaked the shore of Lake Superior, and found our first agates on pebble strewn beaches.

Her Season 3
Gorge Falls of Black River
Photo by Aaron Rubel

The kayak trip bears mentioning.  Lake Superior lies on the north side of the Upper Peninsula.  The lake is very large, deep, and that means cold.  At the time I sit here writing this blog, Lake Superior water temperature rests at 48ºF along the shore nearby where we kayaked.  On that July day, the water temp might have been in the low 50’s, but no higher.  The trip was both our maiden voyage in a kayak, and April sat at the bow in our tandem paddle craft ready to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.  We launched, and so did an incoming two foot roller, cresting the bow and into my brides lap.  We learned lesson one in kayaking: Dress for water temperature, not air temps.  It was cold trip for her, but an extra change of clothes from a friendly camping couple got us through, and we laugh about it today.
Her Season 4

April and I after a refreshing first leg of a kayak trip along the very cold Lake Superior shoreline.
Photo by Stan Carr

Among all the adventure, we managed to get in some fishing too.  Upon making our first step into the river near the B&B, we were excited to see trout rising to Blue Winged Olives.  Our success, or I should say April’s, came on a #16 pheasant tail nymph.  April’s practice and study paid off by catching a Rainbow, Brown and finishing with a Brook trout to complete a hat trick in one evening!  Impressive.

Her Season 5Fly Angler, April Rubel, catches a Brook trout
Photo by Aaron Rubel

Later in the summer we went fishing with Jon Ray, Guide of Hawkins Outfitters.  It was on this trip that April realized she had successfully trained muscle memory in her casting stroke.  Jon worked with her during the trip on the Manistee River to make subtle improvements as we swung wet flies.  April landed three nice trout including a very nice sixteen inch Brown.  What a great season of experiencing the out of doors with someone I love so much.
Her Season 6Fly Angler, April Rubel catches a 16″ Brown trout with Hawkins Outfitters Guide, Jon Ray
Photo by Aaron Rubel

For more information on Black River Crossing Bed & Breakfast in the beautiful west Upper Peninsula of Michigan, go to:
For more information on a Michigan Lower Peninsula fly fishing adventure with Guide, Jon Ray, go to:

 Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved

When Chrome Turns to Brown

January, ironically, brings back memories from a trip taken north to pursue a fish that turns fingers, toes, and river banks to ice.  It was January 25th, 2001, and a good fishing buddy of mine, Ed Roden, and I had decided to try a new river for the pursuit of steelhead.  Steelhead is a strain of rainbow trout that are spawned in the river, then run to the lake to eat until fat and ready to contribute to the reproductive cycle in the same river they were created in.

Ed and I normally would atleast fish together for two days on a steelhead trip since the hook up rate is lower than warmer weather trout fishing.  However, he and I both had other obligations to attend to during the week so one day was the only possible plan.  The air temperature was 28 deg F, and the water measured 38 deg F.  The Rogue River (near Grand Rapids, Michigan) was so cold that day that as snow fell, each flake upon landing on the river would turn the surrounding water to ice.  Unfortunately for me, the 3mm neoprene waders I wore had developed a small gap along the stocking foot seam, and decided to make itself known for the first time on the coldest day I had ever entered a stream.  At one point, I couldn’t feel my right foot any longer, so I climbed out of the river onto the bank, removed the waders and rubbed my toes until the blood circulated pain throughout my entire lower leg.  There’s nothing like putting a cold wet wool sock and waders back on, knowing full well how cold I would be in another hour or so.  This time, I didn’t wade so deep into the river so to reduce the pressure the water was previously applying to my foot and thus reducing the circulation.  It seemed to help.

When steelhead fishing, I like to find a pool near a riffle to cast in.  Steelhead like to stack up in these pools and have access to the riffles for spawning.  I prefer being thorough when fishing and so when there is high potential for fish residing in good habitat, I give it every chance to produce.  When fishing a pool, I prefer to use a sinking leader without a strike indicator, cast, mend line upstream, and then keep a tight line all the while making a dead drift.  I’ve found that casting two flies for steelhead on one line increase the chances of a hook up.  In my opinion, threading the tippet of the second fly through the eye of the first gives a more natural presentation to that of the first fly.

I casted for an hour into the pool at different lengths to cover the entire width of the river.  Admittedly, it was probably overkill, but there was another angler upstream of me and I wasn’t about to give the pool away to anyone but Ed.  Eventually, I started to get cold again, so decided to give it a couple more casts and call it a day.  The afternoon was getting long and it had been a very slow day of fishing.  By the time an hour went by, I knew every little movement the fly line would take on its’ course through the gentle currents of the pool.  On the last cast I would end up taking for the day, the fly line decided to take a slow and unusual subtle turn toward the outside of the path it should have taken.  Realizing this might be a fish, I reacted with a downstream hook set and low and behold a fish had eaten the estaz egg fly!  I could tell the fish was solid, but it didn’t take off like a steelhead normally would.  It also stayed low, pulling hard and taking me out of the pool downstream into the riffle.  Staying below the fish this time to reduce pressure on the line was impossible as the boulders were unevenly distributed on the river’s bottom, creating a trip hazard with each step taken.  So after a few moments of nervously getting into a position to where I could confidently stand, focus shifted to not losing the fish amongst the large boulders.  Fortunately, Ed had taken notice of the situation and asked me if he could help net the fish.  A couple minutes later the tired fish rested in Ed’s net.  The strangely colored tan fish measured 23″, and the more we looked at it the more the fish resembled a brown trout rather than a chrome colored steelhead.  After releasing the beautiful brown trout, I was amazed that on a cold, snowy, January day in 38 degree F water temperature, my personal best brown trout came to hand.
Chrome Turns to Brown 1


Chrome Turns to Brown 2
The Orange Estaz Egg Fly.  I tie it with a tuft of white yarn (yolk) and krystal flash tail, representing a “fish wriggler”, or in other words a fish that has not yet absorbed its’ yolk.  This pattern, I have found, produces better than the traditional egg pattern.

The following website provides a recipe for this fly.  The fly was originated by Chuck Hawkins, owner of fly fishing guide business Hawkins Outfitters in Traverse City, MI.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved

Sharing my Experiences with Anglershare

AnglerShareThrough the years, I’ve had the opportunity to fish some amazing locations.  A friend of mine, Jameson Redding, has developed a website where all of us can share our fishing experiences, locations, and pictures of these trips.

I am excited to share with you to start with, 14 of my favorite locations to fish in the United States.  Some are well known destinations, and some are hidden gems.  I will be using this tool in the future to share more areas that I’ve visited in the past as well as new found favorites of the future, so check back often.  You don’t have to register to view the spots, but I hope you will so that I can learn from your experiences of fishing and expand our boundaries of opportunities!  So, begin by clicking the link below and enjoy my stories, tips, as well as learning from others previously posted on the map.  You can find mine that are posted by “icastinayak”.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved